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The Worst Life Has to Offer

The grief surrounding the loss of a loved one is unbearable. This heart-wrenching memoir of a mother enduring the worst kind of sorrow attempts to bring comfort to grieving parents. As she ponders over what she could have done differently she clings to the endless distress. That said, fate is beyond one’s control, with pain only mitigating over time. Her only solace now is to seek justice and process the heartbreaking reality of her life.

The Worst Life Has To Offer by Venetta Cox-Mylnczyk is a memoir that grips the raw emotions in one’s heart, translating a mother’s story of resilience as she navigates life after the unforeseeable death of her two sons, only 6 months apart. This book touches the core of your being and evokes empathy bringing tears to your eyes with the overwhelming realization of how one trivial mistake can drastically change another’s life.

Venetta has battled the worst, yet still perseveres in the face of adversity. She offers sincere compassion with her words to those that have been subjected to the worst kind of grief: a pain unimaginable. With emotions that hit you right in the gut, it evokes a powerful sense of strength in those who have dealt with the most unfair of life’s circumstances.

The Worst Life Has To Offer by Venetta Cox-Mylnczyk is a book that truly depicts raw sentiments of a mother’s plea for justice: encapsulating a sense of hope for those to overcome even the darkest of days and come out strong in the face of adversity. Challenging as it may be, nothing can compensate for a loss like this, but this narrative genuinely grasps the intricacies of pain, and gracefully honors the memory of her two sons, Brandon and Devon.

Pages: 132 | ASIN : B09TS42PXN

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The FIFO Wives’ Tales

The Fifo Wives’ Tales by Yasmin Walter is a non-fiction book that explores the lives and minds of FIFO wives. FIFO stands for fly-in fly-out lifestyle. From far afar this lifestyle might seem luxurious and easy money, but with magnifying scopes, the reality emerges. All these wives have their share of challenges to cope with. Even when the money is abundant, it has sacrifices and struggles of its own. With each FIFO wife telling her own story, we get a peek into the variety of people involved in the FIFO lifestyle and the impact it has on different individuals.

Each of these FIFO wives shows us a part of their life and their struggles. Each one is unique in its way and yet has glaring similarities. This book breaks the misconceptions surrounding the FIFO lifestyle and how it is not for everyone. Even when they are not fully satisfied with this way of living, some things work out for these FIFO wives and they prefer to stay like that. It has its pros and cons, like any other industry.

As all the writings are by real-life women with their way of explaining their life, the writing style continues to change from wife to wife. It kept me interested and curious throughout the book. However, there are some instances of miscarriage, accidents, affairs, etc. which might trigger some people. FIFO wives have explored the physical and emotional stress their life and relationship go through and many of them have suggested ways to cope with them as well.

I was not aware of how harrowing it can be for both partners to manage their lifestyles around the FIFO lifestyle. Many people tend to compare the struggles of both the partners and rate one higher than the other; the reality is that they both are in this together, struggling in their ways and handling it as best as they can.

Yasmin Walter changes the way we look at FIFO couples and breaks misconceptions and preconceived notions we place upon them before we get to know them. I appreciated that the author has written this novel as a way for FIFO wives to support one another. I recommend this book to those who are curious about the FIFO lifestyle as Walters and the other FIFO wives share their stories, unfiltered.

Pages: 170 | ASIN : B09CC5Y5VK

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Love, Bruises & Bullsh!t

Love Bruises and Bullsh!t is an anthology book consisting of stories detailing abuse towards the different women who are featured. The book was compiled by Sheree Schonian & Yasmin Walter and features twenty different stories from different women who have experienced abuse. These stories deal with abuse from family and significant others and they share how the women involved have either dealt with that trauma or how that trauma affects the victim and their families. Some stories have names associated with them and some are left completely anonymous, demonstrating how hard coming forward and telling your story can be. Some of these stories are also told from the perspective of a child dealing with the abuse. That really added another level to the book, showing the abuse from all angles.

This is a book everyone should read, even if it makes you uncomfortable; especially if it makes you uncomfortable. That is because this book shows the true, sad reality of abuse from those who have experienced it firsthand. The two authors who compiled these stories, Sheree Schonian & Yasmin Walter, do a great job of choosing stories that have weight and really leave an impact on the reader. The definitions of the three pillars in the title, love bruises and bullsh!t, are given at the front of the book. This is a perfect introduction to the reader for what is to come and also gives insight into how it might be hard to see an abusive relationship while you are in it.

I appreciated that the authors added resources and statistics within the book, providing women with information on how to get help if needed. I especially loved the how to support someone section, as people who have not dealt with abuse might not know exactly how to help when they see someone in danger. That is a very important resource provided. This is a book everyone should read, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or experience of abuse because it shines a light on an issue that affects everyone but is rarely talked about.

Pages: 280 | ISBN: 0645255882

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Amygdala Blue

Amygdala Blue is an anthology of short stories and a collection of poetry that will captivate readers. This collection of writings is fascinating, covering religion, racism, and relationships. Every section of author Paul Lomax’s book has a variety of fascinating works for the reader to enjoy. In addition, his prose and poetry will leave readers feeling fulfilled or call on them to reflect on the status quo.

The creativity displayed by Paul Lomax is outstanding. In Amygdala Blue, the reader is taken through many emotions as each work inspires reflection and thought. The diversity in the topics keeps things from being monotonous and ties each piece together for the whole collection of socio-political themes.

The book is divided into three sections covering three critical subject matters in life; Religion, Racism, and Relationships. The author is blunt with the truth but has a graceful way of sharing his thoughts. This is especially displayed in poems, where he writes freely and with enthusiasm, but never forgets to highlight the poem’s theme. While reading this collection, readers will feel connected to the author. His way of describing characters, events, activities, and places gives you a clear mental picture of what he is writing about.

Apart from his explicit description, Paul Lomax is also skilled in how he demonstrates stylistic devices like symbolism, sarcasm, imagery, irony, and metaphors. The author is dedicated to his art and knows how to switch up text to keep the reader engrossed. One of the most notable elements in Amygdala Blue is Paul Lomax’s sense of humor. The author is hilarious and witty with his satire. The funny segments bring an aesthetic appeal to his writing.

Each section of the book had a chapter that got me reflecting on art and real life. The writings’ Symphony of Clouds,’ ‘Panther Lurking High Above the Hood,’ and ‘The Unborn Salt’ were among the most powerful, with the poem in ‘Panther Lurking High Above the Hood’ as my favorite.

The excellent diction, thrilling short stories, quotes, and amazing poem stand out in Paul Lomax’s work. In addition, I loved the stories’ brevity and the enlightening experience about social-political subjects.

Amygdala Blue is a thought-provoking collection of prose and poetry dealing with the socio-political themes of religion, racism, and relationships. Readers will experience the varying emotions that coincide with these topics through the eyes of the author.

Pages: 123 | ASIN : B0B2Q79XMJ

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The Mommy Clique

The Mommy Clique is an entertaining and unpredictable novel filled with gossip and betrayal that will keep readers on their toes. Beth comes back to her hometown after many years to take care of her mother. She is worried about coming back to town, and to make matters worse she is forced to face the mean girl clique of mothers on her street. She soon realizes that she has become the target of these women, and they are looking for some fun. We find out that their ‘perfect’ life in the suburbs is not as great as it looks on the outside.

This is a riveting character driven story and author Barbara Altamirano does a fantastic job of creating believable characters, even when they do some unbelievable things. Each character is different in their own way but they all have one thing in common, they are mean girls and no one can be better than them.

Each chapter in the story is told from a different perspective. This allows the reader to get an intimate look at their thoughts and feelings and truly understand them. Even if readers can’t relate to certain situations they’ll still find that the characters have surprising depth, even when they sometimes seem shallow.

The reader learns that some of the characters in the story are not as happy and perfect as they seem and are putting up a façade. Elise, who is also referred to as the queen bee, is a surprisingly complex character and she is one that I loved to hate. I think that is a testament to the author’s writing ability, as she is able to evoke such strong emotions from the reader. I was also surprised by Beth’s character because, when she is first introduced to the group, she is looked at as weak and as easy prey, but as the story progresses readers learn that she is not at all who we think she is.

This is an engrossing evolution of the high school mean girl story. But when I thought I knew where this story was going the author adds an unexpected twist and once it is revealed you will not be able to put the book down.

The Mommy Clique is a spunky urban drama that will captivate readers as they are drawn into the melodrama, the cattiness, and the backstabbing. I highly recommend this book to readers looking for a quick but compelling story.

Pages: 203 | ASIN: B088DJS6TT

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Sisters in the Storm

Sisters in the Storm: For Moms of Mentally Ill Adult Children by Linda Hoff is a book about the author’s struggles as the mother of a son diagnosed with chronic paranoid schizophrenia. Hoff offers encouragement to other mothers facing a similar situation dealing with a mentally ill adult child, providing support, advice, and resources. In this book, the author shares the lessons she learned and insights gained from her personal journey to help other parents discover ways to cope, find acceptance, and reclaim their own lives.

This is an inspiring and informative book to read for anyone with a family member or friend who struggles with mental illness. Linda Hoff provides valuable tools to live a better, more joyful life despite the difficult battles faced. There is great comfort in knowing that we are not alone and that many others understand what we are going through. I liked that each chapter in the book began with a few lines of poetry, and each chapter ended with a visualization journey.

The inclusion of the author’s personal stories (or stories from friends or acquaintances), which were used to illustrate the author’s points, allowed me to connect with Hoff. For example, a very significant point that the author highlighted was the importance of learning to not allow her own mental health and well-being to suffer due to her child’s mental illness. My favorite chapter in the book was the one about living a joyful life with the twelve elements of hope, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, reverence, generosity, energy and vitality, listening, laughter, love, cheerful enthusiasm, and inner peace, with actionable to-do lists and mediation exercises. I appreciated that the author gave suggestions that she learned from her specific experience and provided information about additional resources where readers can find help for their own personal situations.

One style element in the book’s formatting was to repeat sections of text like in a magazine article style. This method is effective in highlighting important points in writing. However, I felt, at times, it was overused. With so much fantastic information in this supportive book, I can understand why it was hard for the author to decide what key pieces to highlight.

Sisters in the Storm: For Moms of Mentally Ill Adult Children is a heartwarming book for mothers that take on the burden of trying to shoulder everything. It can be an overwhelming experience, and having a book like this to read and look back at gives them the knowledge they are not alone.

Pages: 422 | ASIN : B09VLHL2DG

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The Kid Code

If you learn nothing else as a parent, you quickly learn some powerful lessons about time. Time is of the essence when you have children. So time-saving tips are always welcome, from getting enough sleep to knowing just what to say and when to say it. Brenda Miller has given parents a handbook that will save them precious hours of research and conferring with friends and family. From handling the everyday chaos of parenting to dealing with tantrums and how to effectively say “no,” Miller covers each and every dilemma, a parent could possibly encounter.

The Kid Code: 30 Second Parenting Strategies, by Brenda Miller, contains some of the best advice I have come across in 20-plus years of parenting. So many parenting books tend to be filled with a narrative that doesn’t necessarily apply to the advice readers actually crave. Miller’s book is everything we need with as little extra filler material. She gets to the point quickly and efficiently, offering short, one to two-page snippets of advice that address each parenting issue directly and without lengthy introduction sections. This is a book I wish I had when my son was born.

As a teacher, I find many of Miller’s strategies applicable in the classroom. I was especially taken with her advice on dealing with conflict and saying “no” with heartfelt words. I am finding this comes in particularly handy when it comes to the classroom and teaching students to deal with conflict and how to say no to each other in a much kinder manner. Surprisingly, Miller’s advice on saying “no” applies to older children as well. Overall, most of her 30-second strategies can easily be adapted to various situations, making this a must-read for a much wider audience than just parents of young children.

The Kid Code: 30 Second Parenting Strategies is the self-help manual parents wish they had when walking in the door with a newborn. Any parent or teacher feeling lost when it comes to dealing with rebellion, their own confusion as to the adult in charge, or learning how and when to apologize effectively needs to read the strategies contained in this eye-opening book. This insightful book offers advice that is brief, solid, and to the point.

Pages: 318 | ASIN: B097GXSD54

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Waiting in Wattlevale

The residents at Wattlevale Rest Home each have their own unique story to tell. From Digger, the mischievous prankster, to Major, the irascible veteran, there is more to the elderly inhabitants at Wattlevale than first meets the eye. When Peony, a recently divorced mother, first begins working at Wattlevale, she isn’t sure what she is getting herself into. Through various perspectives, we are introduced to the complex relationships, daily dramas, and petty squabbles that occur in the day-to-day runnings of this busy home. Yet, Wattlevale must always find a way to carry on in the face of disruptive events.

Waiting in Wattlevale contains a colorful and memorable cast of characters whose situations are often equally comic and tragic. This meaningful story provides a poignant and thoughtful reflection on the way society treats the elderly, alongside how society itself is viewed by the older generation. Author Greta Harvey captures the humor and toughness unique to Australian life; this allows the reader to become immersed in the book’s geographical setting and understand many of the residents’ nostalgia for a bygone Aussie way of living.

Jumping skillfully from character to character, Harvey engages us with a vast array of personalities and individual narratives. Each resident has a story to tell, and their uniqueness shines through. The author also doesn’t hesitate to present the flaws of even her most likable residents and care home workers. I sometimes felt like the book could use an additional edit as I found some run-on sentences and perspective switches mid-paragraph. However, the novel’s heart shines through, giving readers a feeling of comfort and familiarity as they move through the pages learning more about each character.

Waiting in Wattlevale is for readers looking for a relaxing, character-driven story. This heartwarming novel has a multi-faceted and humanizing depiction of the elderly and is a fascinating look into the world of the characters.

Pages: 218 | ASIN : B089N23ZP4

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